Amnesty International Nepal starts a campaign for investigation into custodial deathsThere have been six reported in as many months, it says. The Criminal Code-2107 has provision of up to five years imprisonment for anyone found guilty of torture but no one has been found guilty of it so far.
Amnesty International Nepal Thursday started Write for Rights, a campaign as part of its annual human rights letter-writing programme, appealing to Nepal’s authorities to launch an independent and impartial investigation into all incidents of custodial deaths.
Issuing a press statement, the Amnesty Nepal said through the campaign, it will be calling upon Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and all other concerned agencies to launch a set of actions designed to ensure there are fair investigations into all incidents of custodial deaths and those found guilty of inflicting torture and causing subsequent deaths of detainees are held accountable.
At least six incidents of custodial deaths have been reported in the last six months. However, neither the Nepal Police or the Office of the Attorney General has maintained a record of such deaths, according to the statement.
On 10 June, 23-year-old Shambu Sada Musahar was found dead inside the detention room at an Area Police Office in Dhanusha district. Police said he died due to kidney failure. His family dispute this and say he was tortured to death.
On 22 July, 24-year-old Raj Kumar Chepang died after allegedly being beaten up by security personnel stationed inside the Chitwan National Park.
On 26 August, 19-year-old Bijay Ram Mahara, a resident of Rautahat, who had been arrested on murder charges died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Birgunj.
"The rising cases of reported custodial deaths is a cause for great concern and is emblematic of the flaws in Nepal's criminal justice system that compromises the rights of detainees, particularly those belonging to marginalized groups," said Nirajan Thapaliya, Director of Amnesty International Nepal, in the statement.
Despite the criminalisation of torture in Nepal by the new Country Criminal Code 2017, researches have shown that the practice of torture continues to prevail, Amnesty Nepal’s said.
According to the Criminal Code-2017, any person found guilty of inflicting torture shall be punished with up to five years of imprisonment or fine up to Rs50,000 or both. However, no individual has been prosecuted under this law till date, according to the statement.
"Nobody should be subjected to any form of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under any circumstances. It should be a matter of extreme due diligence on the part of the State authorities whose duty it is to ensure the protection of its citizens to guarantee that those who come under their custody are afforded due care, attention and humane treatment regardless of the reason for their detention," said Thapaliya.